Pat Richards looks on during the Tigers' Round 9 loss to the Tricolours.

Taylor thinking long-term for Tigers

Despite his team failing to win their past four games, Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor says he is chasing overall improvement from his team and not necessarily results.

Unconcerned with the Tigers sitting at 13th at the halfway point of the season, Taylor is confident his team will grow in stature in due time.

The coach refused to label Friday's clash with the Rabbitohs a must-win game despite Wests' last victory coming in Round 8 against the Bulldogs.

"It's not about the result. It's about our performances. We're working really hard to improve our performances," Taylor said prior to the Tigers' Captain's run on Thursday.

"It's about what we're developing here and we're not overly concerned about where we are right now on the ladder because we know we're heading in the right direction in general.

"We're on a path to improvement, on a path to playing a tougher style of footy. A style of footy that will be more successful for us down the track."

 

Another sign of Taylor's performance-first mindset is the importance he places on only naming players who are at 100 per cent and fighting fit.

Asked about the return of centres David Nofoaluma and Tim Simona this week, Taylor said the club prided itself on playing injury-free – while also building up the team's depth as seen by the recent debuts of Nathan Milone, Delouise Hoeter, Lamar Liolevave and Manaia Cherrington. 

"It's really big for us to have [Nofoaluma and Simona] back in the team. David was just a couple of per cent off playing last week but we talked at the start of the year about not pushing guys out there before they were ready to play," Taylor said.

"Even though we do need a win, it's more important we make sure the guys are right. Just from talking to them, a little bit of that has been done in the past. 

"As a player [when playing injured] you perform poorly and you're getting a bad reputation when really you're doing a great thing for your club by getting out there and playing in an NRL game when you're not fit to play."

While it's no secret the Tigers have made defence their main focus this season, the fact they have only scored an average of eight points per match in their past four games is of concern. 

"We work on our attack every week and have done since the start of the year but there's no doubt it's taken a bit of a downturn in recent weeks," Taylor said.

"We did step up what we wanted to defensively because we had some weeks which were really poor. It probably dulled our attack a little bit. Not consciously, it wasn't like we practised that way. 

"We're working hard on our defence, we want to improve and it's number one for us but it doesn't mean we aren't practising our attack. It's just a matter of getting the two things to work well in tandem."